Published On: Wed, Nov 20th, 2019

Black Friday 2019 deals warning: Tips to reduce risk of online scams | Personal Finance | Finance

Cut prices and hefty discounts mean that Black Friday deals have become famed for seeming almost too good to be true. But, worryingly, it seems that for some shoppers, the bargains they’ve picked up were just that.

New research from TSB has found that a quarter (24 percent) of UK consumers who have shopped on Black Friday or Cyber Monday say they have experienced attempts at fraud during the weekend sales in the past.

Calculations of the survey, based on a nationally representative survey of 2,003 UK adults, estimates that the figures of those with this experience across the UK could reach more than seven million.

Despite this whopping number of people who say they’ve experienced the attempts, TSB’s research suggests that only one in 10 (14 percent) think about whether a website appears fraudulent when shopping in these sales.

And, while the deals can be genuine, Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a hotspot for fraudulent activity – with scammers potentially able to take advantage of shoppers with fake websites, identity theft and fake adverts during these peak shopping moments.

READ MORE: Online banking warning: The subscription scam that could cost you hundreds of pounds

Worryingly, fraud offences have risen too, as according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, there has been a 17 percent increase in fraud offences over the last year.

As the day of discounts – which in some stores can seem like it’s becoming an entire season – looms, a warning has been issued for shoppers who could fall vulnerable to a scam.

Urging people to try to reduce the risk of being scammed, Ashley Hart, Head of Fraud at TSB, has shared some top tips to protect oneself from fraud this Black Friday.

Is it too good to be true?

She said: “Desperate to get that ‘must-have’ coat/shoes/electricals and you find one in stock?

“Ask yourself if that’s too good to be true. Do you recognise the website? Trust the retailer? Is the price just too tempting?


“Remember – if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”

Watch out for scam emails

“Bombarded by Black Friday emails? Be vigilant of scam emails.

“Fraudsters could make the most of the opportunity to email you the best Black Friday offers. However, fraudster’s websites can be identical to real ones.

“Fraudsters will list products for sale that don’t exist. Are all the images copied from a web search? Being asked to make a payment outside of the auction site’s normal process?”

When it comes to making a payment online, Ms Hart warned online shoppers to take care.

She said: “Treat an electronic payment like you would cash – don’t send one to somebody you don’t know and trust.

“Always use a trusted website and stick to their recommended payment process.

“Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and check the domain name to ensure there’s an ‘s’ on the end of ‘http’ which indicates the site is secure.”

Avoid using public Wi-Fi

While shopping online while out and about can be convenient, a warning about the use of public Wi-Fi has been issued.

The Head of Fraud at TSB said: “Shopping on the go? Many of us do more online shopping versus traditional means, but make sure you’re protecting yourself and avoid making purchases using public Wi-Fi.

“Fraudsters are able to compromise public Wi-Fi easily, so it’s worth eating into your own data and staying safe.

“Fraudsters also use messaging apps like WhatsApp, or Facebook Messenger, to circulate links to ‘money off’ vouchers or discounts.

“Sometimes they require you to share them with 10 people before they become activated. Black Friday is a minefield of offers, and more often than not these links are just a ploy to infect your device with malware or make you part with your personal information.”

For Ms Hart, reducing the rush of purchasing a product could also be important.

“Above everything, stop and think before you click. Fraudsters thrive on stressful or rushed situations, because we’re less likely to think things through before making a payment or surrendering our information,” she explained.

“Always give yourself enough time to make a good decision – and don’t give a fraudster an easy ride.”

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